UA-UCLA Game 2 blog: Bruins are the champsby Anthony Gimino on Jun. 08, 2010, under Sports
The day after: Fowler’s fabulous freshman season
UCLA’s relentless hitting is too much for Arizona to overcome. The Bruins come out on top in the renewal of the sport’s greatest rivalry, winning Game 2 15-9 to sweep the best-of-three championship series.
UCLA has now won 11 national titles. Arizona stays at eight.
The Bruins come out swinging, knocking out a tired Kenzie Fowler in the second inning, and relief pitcher Sarah Akamine couldn’t hold the line against hot-hitting UCLA.
Arizona’s batters battled — led by a pair of Stacie Chambers’ two-run home runs — but the Wildcats also squandered scoring chances and played spotty defense.
UCLA and Arizona have met seven times for the Women’s College World Series title. The Cats won four, the Bruins won two … and UCLA’s 1995 title was stripped by the NCAA because of violations.
Arizona finishes the season at 52-14.
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Stacie Chambers hits another two-run home run, this time in the sixth, cutting the deficit to 15-8. She now has 21 home runs this season and 67 for her career. The game goes to the seventh.
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Now, all of Arizona’s pitchers have allowed a home run. Walk-on Ashley Ralston-Alvarez, a senior who attended Catalina Foothills High and Pima Community College, gives up a home run to the first batter she faces — Samantha Camuso.
The ESPN announcers have been talking about the composite bats, which are supplying a lot of power to the game. UA coach Mike Candrea has talked about banning the bats. Good idea. The rate at which balls are leaving the yard — especially to the opposite field — is not natural in college softball.
Ralston-Alvarez strikes out two batters and gets out of the inning without allowing another run, so she’ll have a positive memory.
UCLA leads 15-6 heading into the bottom of the sixth.
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Arizona junior catcher Stacie Chambers hits her 20th home run of the season — a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth. Chambers has 66 career home runs, within reach next season of the school record of 85, held by Laura Espinoza and Leah Braatz.
Arizona trails 14-6, leaving the bases loaded.
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UCLA’s bats aren’t done yet, either. After Arizona scores three runs in the bottom of the fourth, UCLA scores seven in the fifth, helped by a fielding error by second baseman Kristen Arriola.
The big hit was a three-run blast from Julie Burney that made it 11-4. The Bruins didn’t stop there, continuing to pile on the runs as eight consecutive batters reached base safely with two outs. They lead 14-4.
Sometimes, backup pitcher Sarah Akamine can be effective and keep batters off balance. At other times, she gets hit hard. This is one of the latter times.
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Arizona isn’t done yet. The Wildcats score three runs in the fourth off Aleah Macon to make it 7-4. Problem is, Arizona could have score more, bringing the tying run to the plate three times in the inning.
The first five batters reached base. With the bases loaded, Macon hit Lini Koria with a pitch to make it 7-2. Kristen Arriola then delivered her first hit of the Series — a two-run single.
The Wildcats failed to do any more damage, though, and UCLA appears ready to put in Megan Langenfeld in relief in the next inning.
Still, Arizona has climbed back into it.
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Arizona is going to regret its outfield defense in the championship series. Right fielder Karissa Buchanan, whose hitting has been superb, misplayed a drive to right, dropping to her knees in a failed attempt to cut off the hit from Kaila Shull.
The ball bounced past her to the fence, allowing a runner to score from first with two outs, making it 7-1 for UCLA in the top of the fourth.
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Lini Koria gets a run back for Arizona with a homer in the bottom of the sixth. All the Cats need now is one more run per inning to catch UCLA … without giving up any more, of course.
The Bruins lead 6-1 going to the third inning.
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In her sixth start in six days, Arizona freshman Kenzie Fowler lost control of her pitches and, briefly, her emotions.
After allowing a two-run home run in the first inning — and then walking the bases loaded — Fowler hit the first batter of the second inning (B.B. Bates) in the helmet. bates was fine and stayed in the game, but Fowler appeared upset.
At that point, coach Mike Candrea brought in Sarah Akamine to pitch … but that didn’t work out so well, either.
Later in the inning, Andrea Harrison — after Arizona intentionally walked Megan Langenfeld — smashed a grand slam to give the Bruins a 6-0 lead.
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Hard to score if you don’t swing. Brittany Lastrapes singles to lead off the bottom of the first, but Lauren Schutzler, K’Lee Arredondo and Stacie Chambers all strike out looking against Aleah Macon.
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New day, same result. Arizona doesn’t pinch around UCLA star Megan Langenfeld, and Langenfeld smacks an opposite field two-run homer in the top of the first inning.
Monica Harrison had singled ahead of Langenfeld, so there wasn’t an open base, but giving her anything close to hit right now seems like a bad idea.
Kenzie Fowler walked the bases loaded after that, but she got a pop-up and a foul out (left fielder Brittany Lastrapes made a nice catch near the wall) to escape without further trouble.
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PREGAME: After an epic Game 1 — won by UCLA 6-5 in eight innings — Arizona coach Mike Candrea and his Wildcats are getting ready to get after it in tonight’s second game of the best-of-three championship series.
Considering the Wildcats won four elimination games to reach the championship series, there shouldn’t be much of an emotional hangover for this resilient team.
Plus, senior shortstop K’Lee Arredondo has been telling her younger teammates about 2007, when Arizona lost the first championship game to Tennessee before winning the next two to claim its eighth national title.
After Monday night’s game, Arredondo said she told her teammates to “pick your heads up.”
She added: “We’ve fought so hard. There’s no reason we can’t come back and beat this team two times in a row.”
Candrea, in the postgame news conference, said that it was pitching coach Teresa Wilson’s decision to pitch to Megan Langenfeld in the eighth inning with two outs and no runners on base. Langenfeld hit a homer to win the game.
“I’m not going to second guess someone that’s done a helluva job,” he said.
Still, he hinted that Arizona might be much more cautious with Langenfeld tonigh